This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

A taxonomy of logical fallacies

Anyone who wants to learn birdwatching needs to learn what kinds of birds are out there, and for that, they need a beautifully crafted Field Guide for Birdwatchers.

It is very common in discussions and debates to see one user accuse another of committing a fallacy, but sometimes it gets a little tiresome reading "strawman" and "ad hominem" over and over again, as if people were so horrifyingly unimaginative in their errors that they kept going back to the same old ones. Sometimes, one can wonder if there are only a handful of logical errors people ever make at any one time. Why no fallacy exploration? Why no thirst for discovery and experimentation?

I haven't yet found a thread on this topic on RichardDawkins.net, and I developed an interest in the varieties of Logical Fallacy for their own sake - how they are classified, their varying degrees of 'right' and 'wrong', how they relate to each other, whether some fallacies were really subfallacies of even more general ones, and even if some challenged core ideas of scientific thinking, and so on.

I feel that any promotion of reason and science should also include a Field Guide to Logical Argument, and people should know about the various species of Logical Fallacy that they are likely to find out in the wild of forum debates. Some are common and taken for granted, others are rare and a dying breed; some are modest and delightfully quaint, others are horrifying in their applications; all can teach us how to refine our own discussions.

So, I present to you the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies:

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/taxonomy.html

It is from a site called FallacyFiles.org, which contains information on Logical Fallacies, and it is also a useful place for devotees of logic to learn about the terms to know, and to learn how to distinguish Logical Fallacies from genuine arguments. It could be a useful tool for those who want to sharpen their debating skills, who want to learn how to spot or avoid making logical errors, or just for those who like fallacies for their own sake.

I know it is barely a start, but I think it could only benefit reason and science, and any kind of learning and academic inquiry, to have a catalogue or a collection of Logical Fallacies at hand to guide us, and I post this for the benefit of users who are unaware of the site or even of the Logical Fallacies themselves.

Happy trails, Logic-Watchers!

TAGGED: REASON


Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment